— Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) held the first ever National OCF Day of Prayer took place beginning at 6 PM EST on Sunday, February 22 and ending at 6 PM EST on Monday, February 23, 2004. Great Lent began with the service of Forgiveness Vespers on Sunday, February 22, and Orthodox college students continued praying for 24 consecutive hours following. OCF groups from colleges all across the United States and Canada signed up for one-hour increments where they participated in a special prayer service which included petitions for peace in the world, unity in the Church, and the well-being of Orthodox college students and their futures.
Some of the participating local OCF groups included: University of Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, University of Colorado, Boston University, University of California Santa Barbara, Westmont College, University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas, University of Connecticut, Hellenic College, and Pennsylvania State University, to name a few. Joseph J. Samra, OCF’s National Program Coordinator, stated that the main goal of the National OCF Day of Prayer were to bring the geographically scattered OCF chapters together through the unity of prayer.
Feedback from the participating OCFs and individuals has been very positive. Many students described their experience as “awesome,” knowing that for the entire 24-hour period of the Day of Prayer, fellow college students were praying for them. Kathryn Freeman, an OCF Student Advisory Board Member and a student at the University of South Carolina said, “What a tremendous program it turned out to be, and I know it was overwhelming to us at USC even periodically throughout the 24 hours knowing that people were somewhere, right then, praying for us and for our college ministry. It was truly a joy, and a wonderful way to start Lent.” Natalie Kapeluck, OCF Executive Committee Vice Chairman, added, “I joined the Duquesne OCF and at times was overcome with the thought that this same service was being held all over the USA and Canada.”
It is hoped that this first National OCF Day of Prayer will become an annual event, uniting many of the approximate 40,000 Orthodox college students studying at colleges and universities from coast to coast.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is the official campus ministry effort of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). It is a Pan-Orthodox effort, overseen by an Executive Committee and aided by a sixteen-person Student Advisory Board. The office is located in Boston, MA, where a full time staff develops OCF programs and resources. The staff is available to guide and support local OCF chapters through communication with the larger Orthodox community, national programs, and development of resources for use by Orthodox college students. SCOBA designated the 3rd Sunday in September each year as “College Student Sunday” to raise awareness of our students on campus and OCF’s activities.